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Colts player Ryan Kelly and wife offer inspiring words after death of their daughter



Cerith Gardiner - published on 01/01/22

“It wasn't in God's plan for our sweet girl. We had to say goodbye, the hardest thing that either of us has ever and hopefully will ever have to go through.”
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*Trigger warning for those coping with child loss.

After the loss of his daughter Mary Kate, Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly gave a poignant statement that not only reflects his strong faith, but the beautiful respect and admiration he has for his wife, Emma.

The Kellys unexpectedly lost their daughter at 19 weeks into the pregnancy when doctors discovered that her little heart had stopped beating. And while there is no easy way to grieve such a loss, the Kellys’ unshakeable faith has proved a solid source of comfort at this time.

In a lengthy statement given to the press on Thursday, which was then shared on the Colts homepage, Kelly shared what had happened to the family:

For 24 hours I watched and held my wife’s hand as she labored with our daughter. We didn’t get to later where you get to wrap your baby up and take them home. It wasn’t in God’s plan for our sweet girl. We had to say goodbye, the hardest thing that either of us has ever and hopefully will ever have to go through.

The football player then highlighted his wife’s pain and strength in their daughter’s passing:

“But this is about my wife and the rock star that she is. As I sat in the hospital bed and watched tears roll down her face, she held our daughter with love, a love that I’ve never seen before. The strength that she possesses I know transferred to our daughter who watches over us now. I’ve never been more proud to be your husband.

If you look at the rest of the statement available online, which is definitely worth the read, you will also see how Kelly was quick to thank those he works with for their support, and the hospital staff for the role they played in their daughter’s arrival:

To the doctors and nurses at Community North, who made us feel like our daughter was the only baby in the world who mattered, thank you. You’ll forever be in our family.

While Kelly may not realize the power of his words, this acknowledgement is an important reminder that the roles we play in supporting loved ones through difficult circumstances can have a lasting impact.

Kelly shared further details of his daughter’s life and death in this sweet message on Twitter:

Nothing made me happier than being your Dad. You gave your mom and I that gift. You were simply a miracle and always will be. I’m sorry you never got to open those sweet eyes and see us or take your first steps but you have angel wings now. You left this world too soon but we know God had a bigger purpose for you.

The Colt center also shared a moving passage on his daughter’s future role in their lives, with a glimmer of hope for the future:

“Your mom and I find comfort in knowing you’re being loved on by your great grandparents. Thank you for watching over us and your future siblings. I’ll forever wonder who you’d be today. Until we meet again my sweet girl, I love you.”

In a deeply moving message on Instagram, Emma shared the final days with her daughter, that not only demonstrates her incredibly deep faith, but will hopefully inspire any other parents going through a similar tragedy:

…After learning she wasn’t with us anymore, I was told there was no other choice but to deliver our baby next… I was so angry at first that I had to deliver her, only for it to become the biggest blessing out of this nightmare. It gave Ryan and I the opportunity to hold our little Saint, Mary Kate, before officially saying goodbye to her. These 19 weeks with her opened our hearts & souls more than we ever imagined possible & I’m forever grateful we had some time, earth-side, with the little girl who made us mom and dad. She was tiny, perfect and incredibly loved from everyone who knew she existed. I don’t think we’ll ever understand why God decided to call her home when he did but our faith is unshaken. He knows better than we & she was needed back home, in Heaven.

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